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The ABC of Integrated Wellness
Writer | Barry Grant Warrington

Integrated Wellness puts the patient at the centre and uses every possible resource to help achieve a healthy state of body, mind and spirit

The question “What is Integrative Medicine?” can cause plenty of discussion and disagreement amongst medical professionals, so the request by Spa Mantra for an article on the subject came at just the right time. My team and I at Verita Life have just opened an Integrative Oncology Center in Bangkok, and this very question has been on our minds, and in our discussions for months!


Integrative Wellness is a holistic approach to a person’s overall health or to removing disease. In this sense, holistic means that the physical body, emotions, mental state and environment all need to be considered as part of the assessment of your health. Integrative medical practitioners may re-define the norms of wellbeing, and these may be different than what the regular medical community considers normal, as integrative wellness providers consider that what regular medical doctrine accepts may not on its own be a good enough standard to stop disease occurring (or recurring).

The process of an integrative medical experience may seem quite different as well. What I describe below is what one might commonly experience in one of our Integrative centers.


After we have received or take your medical history from you, we may run a variety of different tests that your regular physicians may never have considered (such as Vitamin D levels, flexibility, and Genetics. Once we receive the results, a tailored and individual treatment plan is drawn up. The objective is to transform the internal environment of your body from a state that supports disease, to one that supports health. There are multiple approaches used and these normally include exercise, body-work, mind work, and nutritional adjustments.

If disease is present, then traditional methods and pharmaceutical products will also be used but normally the ultimate goal is to lower the dosage and ultimately remove pharmaceutical drugs in favour of the more gentle, yet effective, herbs and nutraceuticals. Every attempt is made to keep you with the program and empower you to be responsible for your own health.

Physicians may refer you to an exercise physiologist for exercise or activity advice, who would encourage you to choose an exercise program you enjoy. This could be strength and conditioning, Yoga, Swimming, or cardio vascular exercises. If time is an issue then a shorter burst of intense low impact exercise would be recommended. My personal favourite for those short of time is called Peak 8, which only takes 20 minutes 3 times a week. It can be done with most cardiovascular exercises, on a bike, in the pool or on the track.

Body-work is often used to support the physical body, provide stressrelief and detoxify the body. It may include various types of massage, chiropractic style manipulation and even acupuncture. A common choice to assist with detoxing is lymphatic massage, which can be very powerful in removing disease.

Mind-work can involve many approaches some of them spiritual such as prayer and meditation, and others more mainstream such as counseling and hypnosis. Ensuring that the mind, mental patterns, habits and emotions are addressed can be crucial to ensuring that patients understand the process of healing, and can develop the commitment needed to stay on a treatment program, and to be Electronic Cigarette patient enough to see it through to success.


Dietary therapy tends to vary but a very common approach is an initial detox diet including raw organic fruit and vegetables along with juicing and herbal teas. Supplements are required to compensate for nutritional deficiencies and to boost your immune systems to perform at their optimum levels. The ultimate goal is to remove the cause of your problems and at the same time remove all symptoms you have.

After all this intensive therapy during an agreed amount of time, normally 8-12 weeks, you would be re-tested to see the adaptations you have made and slight adjustments might be made to your program so continued improvements are achieved.

When can one call oneself an Integrative Wellness Centre?

Like Spas, there is no current agreed standard or single governing body for Integrative centers (although of course all such centres obtain the usual Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and related approvals in their core area, for example Oncology). In my opinion, unless you have a broad range of services, doctors, practitioners and related therapies you are not doing your patients justice if you call yourself an Integrative Centre.

To be an integrative centre, you might follow a certain philosophy, say Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, or even practice within a medical specialty such as Oncology. However, you would follow a few key points common to all integrative centres. These can be described as:

1. The patient story is the story. Consultations must be in depth. Nothing of significance can be achieved when a consultation is only a few minutes.

2. Traditional therapies, often referred to as alternative or complementary therapies, should not be ruled out just because they aren’t taught in medical school, but must be considered if they can add to the overall effectiveness of a treatment plan. In general, such therapies provide an essential role in all treatment plans.

3. Physicians must be flexible to try new approaches when needed – not just sticking to a set formula alone.

4. You must address the Mind, Body and Spirit during your consultations and treatment plans.

5. You must be willing to refer to other practitioners, and to include their diagnosis and treatment plans into the overall patient plan.

Verita Life, as an example, primarily treats cancer, and frequently draws on a variety of services in treatment plans might include; colonic hydrotherapy, hyperthermia, nutrition, IV treatments, bodywork, counseling and Pharmaceuticals, whilst its sister clinic Verita Health which focuses on chronic disease offers an even more diverse range including general checkups, Traditional Chinese Medicine, thermography, minor surgical procedures, PRP, cosmetic procedures as well as anti aging, detoxification and weight loss programs and more.

No matter the focus that a particular clinic may have, by adhering to the 5 points above, and by putting the patient at the centre of the treatment plan, the clinic will naturally select a range of therapies that will add up to an integrative treatment plan when combined intelligently.

By doing so, they can lead patients to greater health, with the least invasive procedures possible and with the greatest chance of long term success. 

About the Author 

Barry Grant Warrington is the Director of Operations at iS Wellness, General Manager of Verita Health and Verita Life and formerly the General Manager of TRIA Integrative Wellness, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

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